New figures from China have suggested that the economy in the Asian country could have entered a sharp economic slump.
Data gathered by economists as part of a Reuters poll found that imports are expected to fall by ten per cent in January 2019 compared to the same month a year earlier, marking the biggest decline since 2016 and following on from a 7.6 per cent drop in December 2018.
Meanwhile, imports are also likely to have contracted, with outbound shipments forecast to be down by 3.2 per cent year-on-year.
Chief Asia economist at Capital Economics Mark Williams told the news provider: "We should be alert to the possibility that China's economy is slowing more abruptly than we had been expecting."
However, some analysts have warned that such low figures need to be treated with caution, as the Lunar New Year holidays fell earlier this year than they did last and this could have caused business distortions.
China has now entered a new round of talks with the US designed to reach a deal on tariffs between the two nations before the March 1st deadline, when a levy of 25 per cent will be applied to Chinese imports.